Hungary / 28-06-2012
Hungarian far-right deputy admits Jewish roots
Budapest - A leader of Hungary's extreme-right Jobbik party, known for its anti-Roma and anti-Semitic rhetoric, has admitted having Jewish origins, prompting mockery in several online forums Wednesday.
"I learnt not long ago that I had parents of Jewish origins, that's the big news," Szegedi Csanád, a member of the European parliament and regional leader of Jobbik, said in an interview with the extreme-right daily Barikad to be published Thursday.
"I'm not saying I wasn't surprised by this news," he added, noting it would take a while to "digest" the information.
Szegedi has repeatedly used antisemitic rhetoric in the past and also got attention when in 2009 he attended the first session of the European parliament in a uniform of the Hungarian Guard, a paramilitary branch of Jobbik which has since been banned.
In his latest interview he noted however: "I think that what counts is not to know who is a pure race Hungarian, the important thing is the way one behaves as a Hungarian."
"To be Hungarian for me has always been a responsibility (towards my country), that has nothing to do with racial supremacy."
Szegedi's news on Wednesday gave way to amused, as well as cutting reactions on social networking sites.
For the leading news portal Index.hu, the story showed that "stupidity is not related to one's genetic heritage."
Members of Jewish organisations also joked about the revelations, urging rabbis to invite Szegedi to their synagogue for prayers, and suggesting he get a circumcision, without anaesthetics.
One blog, Narancs.Hirado, meanwhile observed that it was "impossible that Szegedi had not known his grandmother Magoldna Klein was Jewish and a Holocaust survivor."
"Szegedi, you are an embarrassment to the Hungarian people and an embarrassment to Jews," the blog added, calling for the Jobbik deputy to step down from his posts.
However the party's leader Gabor Vona said on national television that Szegedi would remain in place.